Saturday 21 April 2018

Brennan's bred for success as French bow against Ireland beckons

Ireland Legend Trevor Brennan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile
Ireland Legend Trevor Brennan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

When we met the sky-scraping Daniel Brennan a day after Anthony Foley's funeral outside Thomond Park last year, a familiarly bear-like handshake from his father was accompanied by a declaration of intent.

"Meet the Irishman who will play for France!" Trevor (right) exclaimed; now, 16 years after the former European champion's criminally short international career - 13 caps! -ended, his long-cherished prophecy will come to pass.

Yesterday, Daniel was named in the France squad for the 2017 U-20 Six Nations; on February 24 in Donnybrook, Les Bleus will face the land of his and his father's birth. And the Brennan ensemble will fly La Tricolore with the fiercest of pride.

"I hadn't heard about it until you rang me," Brennan told the Irish Independent; he had just finished the lunch shift in his new venture, Castleginest, just outside Toulouse to where the Connacht fans will flock ahead of their decisive Champions Cup tie this Sunday.

"I'm over the moon, delighted, hopefully he can stay injury-free now," added Brennan of his behemoth offspring ,who came through the Toulouse youth system.

Josh, a younger son, is even taller at 6ft 6ins - "makes me look like a midget!" - seems destined to follow in his brother's marauding boot steps.

"Daniel has been in Toulouse since he was 11," added his father. "He has come through the U-17s, 18s and then captained the 19s in South Africa. He has trained with the 20s recently too.

"He's been here since he was three, Josh was only three months. They know nothing else. It's a great story, I played for Ireland and for them to do it is a fairytale.

"There's a much bigger playing pool here and to be in the best two or three in his position as prop is fantastic."

Meanwhile, Brennan fears for his old club's future in Europe against Connacht as France's interest in the Champions Cup diminishes year on year.

"The French clubs have lost interest in what was the biggest competition in world rugby, there is so much money in the Top 14 for TV rights," said Brennan.

However, Toby Flood, Toulouse's English international out-half, believes his multiple title winners have been their own worst enemy but desperately want to get through against the side who stunned them here in 2013, and in Galway before Christmas.

"We just need to get over the line. We have struggled late on, we drew here against Wasps and lost there in the last few seconds," he said. "Last week, we were seconds away from securing a home quarter-final but now we are in a scrap to just qualify.

"It could come down to a goal kick and a late bonus point in the last play; we need to think outside the box and just maintain our cool and not leak points which has been a bad habit for us.

"Anything can happen and that's what makes it so exciting."

Irish Independent

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